Focusing on Jesus in the midst of lockdown
Jenny Sanders, author of Spiritual Feasting (Instant Apostle) explores how we can deepen our relationship with Jesus during this pandemic – and keep fears about the future at bay
I wonder how many times you’ve turned to the 23rd Psalm recently? In times of uncertainty King David’s words are always a source of comfort and reassurance: ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.’ Never mind toilet paper and groceries; peace and hope seems have been in short supply lately.
He goes on to describe ‘green pastures’ and ‘quiet waters’ – places where he finds refreshment and replenishment in God. His reference to dark valleys is far less appealing. Dark, shadowy places that threaten harm and feed our fear might be all too familiar in the current climate. Reluctantly, we remember that Jesus never promised us a trouble-free path through life.
See how the verses continue: ‘You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.’ This speaks of a specific place which God has made ready especially for us. Like a wedding reception laid out with exquisite care, it’s as if God has placed a calligraphed tag, at a very particular setting, with our name on it. No one else can sit in the place reserved for us. What a privilege that God should invite us to share life with Him in this way!
Here, the food we’re served represents the circumstances of our lives. Some people are served delicious ‘dishes’ – stable jobs, income security, rock solid marriages; others know less palatable ‘dishes': broken relationships, unemployment, abuse. We don't always choose the ‘meal’ in front of us, but in the light of Jesus’ salvation-invitation – to embrace the opportunity to ‘eat' in His company, at His table – hopeless situations lose some of their sting. We’re under new management, setting aside the ragged ‘clothes’ of our old life for royal robes, fit for children of the King.
Of course, God doesn’t serve all those ‘dishes’, but He does promise to be there to ‘feast' with us, whether in good circumstances and bad, even where our various enemies of fear, doubt, anger, unforgiveness and the like, hover within our sight-lines, looking for opportunities to distract us and cause us harm.
Sitting at God’s metaphorical table, you and I have a stark choice: will we ‘feast’ today on what’s been put in front of us, or will we push it away with disdain and loathing? Jesus sits right there alongside, yearning to share that ‘meal’ with us. Choosing to ‘feast’ means pressing in to our relationship with Him, increasing in our knowledge, love, worship and wonder of who He is. Walking away means we will never know life in the joy-filled way that He designed (John 10:10).
Let’s be clear, some ‘menus’ are a genuine, heart-breaking challenge; but, if we spend more time gazing on our Host than on our ‘plate’, then we will find that even the bitterest and most sour ‘dish’ can become a ‘feast’ with Jesus.
By gazing rather than glancing at Him, we grow in intimacy and maturity and so, inevitably, reflect Him more powerfully to our broken world which so desperately needs to hear that same invitation to come and
‘feast’ with Him. His company will never disappoint. Feasting with the One we love will above all keep us focused on His promises and His character, reminding us that this good shepherd will protect, lead and love us throughout our days, no matter what our circumstances.
Let’s choose to make Him our focus and our priority again today. Fear has not been invited to this table, but ‘goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.’
- Jenny Sanders is an international speaker, prophetic teacher and writer who has been discipling and training Jesus-lovers across streams and denominations for more than 30 years. Her passion is, ‘to see the lights come on’ for people when they grasp the magnificence of God’s grace and the excitement of living life with Him at the helm. She is married to Bernard with whom she adventures around the world. They have four fantastic grown-&-flown children
- Spiritual Feasting: it’s time to take our places at his table is published by Instant Apostle on 15 May 2020, priced £8.99
You can find Jenny’s blog at: https://dancingthroughchaos.wordpress.com/